Nature studies came to life when children from a Newcastle school paid a visit to Scotswood Garden. Established on the former site of a school playing field in 1995, the Natural Community Garden covers almost three acres of land, and its three ponds are home to frogs, toads and several species of newt, including the rare great-crested variety.

The 30 Year 5 pupils from St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School in North Kenton had been studying the life cycles of living things as part of the science curriculum at the school, which is part of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.

The group spent their time at Scotswood learning about the life cycles of newts, as well as creating their own clay versions of the amphibians.

Half of the children explored the gardens, completing a treasure hunt using clues to collect all of the stages of a newt’s life cycle,” explained class teacher Sarah Sneezham, who accompanied the children on the trip, along with teaching assistants Louise Thompson and Sue Hagan.

They had great fun splitting into teams to complete this task that allowed them to explore all corners of the garden,” she added.

The other half of the class stayed around a campfire-style circle and sculpted their own newts, from larvae to adulthood, molding them through metamorphosis, before adding their own decoration with the natural materials around them. Some children even got the chance to climb a tree and hunt for minibeasts that may have been hiding over the winter.

A return trip is planned for later in the year.

We plan to visit again in the summer for the second session, looking at plants and pond dipping,” continued Mrs Sneezham. “Trips like these help to support understanding and bring learning to life. These enriched experiences help children to gain a deeper meaning and develop a curiosity about their learning. The children loved looking over the pond and can’t wait to return in the summer term to go pond dipping.

Article created on behalf of Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust by Barking Dog Media. For more information email: or call 07754 271086.